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Title:pole screen
Date Made:ca. 1760
Type:Furniture; Textile; Household Accessory
Materials:textile: polychrome wool embroidery; yellow silk embroidery; plain weave hemp or linen ground; wood: mahogany, pine
Place Made:United States; Massachussetts; Suffolk county: Boston
Measurements:Overall: 56 3/4 in x 19 in x 20 in; 144.1 cm x 48.3 cm x 50.8 cm; Frame: 20 1/4 in x 16 1/2 in; 51.4 cm x 41.9 cm
Accession Number:  HD 1707
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Pole screen or fire screen with a needlework picture embroidered in wool and silk onto an open-weave linen ground (the yellow color is predominantly silk, providing a reflective accent suggestive of gold, and contrasting with the more mat woolen yarns). "Fishing Lady" needlework was the name given in the 1920s to a group of needlework worked in Boston during the mid eighteenth century. Examples in this genre include scenes of flirtatious gathering of couples involved in various activities such as fishing and set in abundant landscapes. This example depicts with a young man standing beside the Fishing Lady; a fruit basket, two dogs, flowers and foliage in the foreground; and two tall tree, a building, flying insects and two birds, and the squirrel overhead. This screen was said to have been owned originally by the Rev. Thomas Smith (1702-1795) who was born in Boston, graduated from Harvard in 1720, and completed his theological studies in 1722. After preaching in the Boston area, he was ordained as the first pastor of the First Congregational Church of Falmouth (now Portland), Maine, in 1727 where he preached until 1784. Smith and had three wives: Sarah Tyng (1702-1742) of Dunstable, Massachusetts, whom he married in 1728, and had eight children; Mrs. Jordan (d. 1763) of Saco, Maine, whom he married in 1743; and Mrs. Elizabeth Hunt Wendall (d. 1799) whom he married in 1766. In 1765, Thomas Smith's son, Peter Thatcher Smith (1731-1826) married, Elizabeth Wendall (ca. 1742-1799), the daughter of Elizabeth Hunt Wendall and her first husband, Jacob Wendall (b. 1715) who married in 1736. Just before the Revolution, Thomas Smith moved his family and belongings in with Peter Thatcher Smith in South Windham, Maine, where the belongings stayed descending to the Boothbay family of Gorham, Maine. Ostensibly, they protected one's face from the heat of the fire. More to the point, they offered an ostentatious means of displaying fancy needlework. The embroidery (tent stitch with some knot stitch accents) is farily dense, at 25 stitches per inch. Ink underdrawing is visible in areas of embroidery loss, including the stomacher and house in background). The scene is similar to the Sarah Warren chimneypiece at the Winterthur Museum. The pole has a carved acorn finial, spiral carved urn, and a tripod base ending in elongated "rat claw" feet typical of the Boston area.


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